Since When Do We Thank Captors for Releasing Hostages?

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In 2011, Kim Jong-un began to serve as Supreme Leader of North Korea. Much has happened in the seven years since, including Jong-un’s many public statements made in hostility toward the United States. On several occasions, tensions have risen quite high following threats of nuclear attack on Jong-un’s part.

North Korea officials also took several American citizens hostage, one of whom was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor for his alleged subversion. North Korea is known for having some of the world’s most hostile prison camps. This was made evident to all Americans last summer, when Mr. Otto Warmbier, age 22, was returned to the U.S. after being held captive in North Korea. When he arrived in the United States, he was in a vegetative state and appeared to have suffered severe brain damage. Sadly, he succumbed to his condition not long after his return.

Three more hostages recently made their way back to the U.S. when Jong-un set them free – some say to “butter up” President Donald Trump, with whom he is supposed to meet in a summit in June. There has been much conjecture regarding the scheduled talks; President Trump stated several times how hopeful he is that it could be a turning point in history, especially if Jong-un makes good on his promise to possibly denuclearize North Korea.

When Otto Warmbier was sent home in such a tragic condition, President Trump had harsh words for the North Korean leader, at one point, threatening to wipe his country off the map. However, when the three hostages arrived safely on U.S. soil recently, they were greeted by the president and the First Lady, Melania Trump. Several times since then, President Trump has thanked Jong-un for releasing the hostages. He even said it was a “beautiful gesture” and that the U.S. is very thankful for the excellent treatment North Korea gave to the hostages. (I am not sure on what planet 10 years’ hard labor is considered “excellent treatment” but it is surely not this one.)

This left me with such a bad taste in my mouth. Since when does the United States of America thank captors for releasing American hostages? What’s next? Will we be paying ransoms, too? In a copy of a letter that the president wrote to Jong-un, he said was disappointed to have to postpone their peace talks due to North Korea’s recent despicable behavior toward Vice President Pence. The letter also included remarks of gratitude for freeing the three hostages.

This is the president of the United States of America, thanking a man who has threatened more than once to nuke us off the face of the earth (whether North Korea has the capability to do so has been questioned but that is not the point) for returning American citizens whom he kidnapped and held against their will. A beautiful gesture? I can’t even comprehend such a remark in the context in which it was given. A beautiful gesture – to release American hostages?

Why is the man who holds the most powerful position in the free world thanking the leader of another country who took his citizens hostage? This makes no sense to me, whatsoever. The U.S. does not placate hostage-takers. The U.S. does not appease evil regimes. The U.S. certainly does not call it a beautiful gesture when a captor finally comes to his senses and sets American hostages free.

I can’t possibly be the only person who was bothered by this.


Writer Bio: Judy Dudich

Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.

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